When we study the character of God, the complexity of it can be overwhelming. In its complexity, we can assume that it is contradictory and therefore choose to ignore parts we don’t understand nor appreciate.
Yet, as we study the character of God, we do not find dichotomy that leads to division and chaos. Rather, we see a contrast of character that within the complexity of its dichotomy blends into a beautiful harmony.
There is harmony within the dichotomy of the nature of God.
The following quote speaks of some of this:
The Lion of Judah conquered because He was willing to act the part of a lamb. He came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday like a king on the way to a throne, and he went out of Jerusalem on Good Friday like a lamb on the way to the slaughter. He drove out the robbers from the Temple like a lion devouring his prey. And then at the end of the week, He gave His majestic neck to the knife, and they slaughtered the Lion of Judah like a sacrificial lamb…
So Christ is a lamb-like Lion and a lion-like Lamb. That is His glory — “an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies.” — John Piper in Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ
And another quote from Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ:
We admire him for his glory, but even more because his glory is mingled with humility.
We admire him for his transcendence, but even more because his transcendence is accompanied by condescension.
We admire him for his uncompromising justice but even more because it is tempered with mercy.
We admire him for his majesty, but even more because it is a majesty of meekness.
We admire him because of his equality with his God, but even more because as God’s equal he nevertheless has a deep reverence for God.
We admire him because of how worthy he was of all good, but even more because this was accompanied by an amazing patience to suffer evil.
We admire him because of his sovereign dominion over the world, but even more because this dominion was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission.
We love the way he stumped the proud scribes with his wisdom, and we love it even more because he could be simple enough to like children and spend time with them.
And we admire him because he could still the storm, but even more because he refused to use that power to strike the Samaritan with lightning (Luke 9:54-55), and he refused to use it to get himself down from the cross.
It is the contrasts and unity of these qualities that lend itself to a greater beauty and more complete picture of the wonder of our God!
This is Who God is! He is both the Lion and the Lamb. He is conqueror, and He is healer. He is grace, and He is truth. He is just, and He is merciful! He is holy, and He is also forgiving. That’s my God!
Knowing that there is greater strength, beauty, and glory within the contrast, how does that give us hope and joy in our weakness?
It means that where we lack in all that is good, true, and noble, God is more than abundant. It means that God meets us in our “lack” and fills the need so that the combination of God in us makes for a superior picture of excellence.
It is when we surrender our brokenness to God and ask Him to fill it with His wholeness, a beautiful “picture” of glorious redemption is portrayed. Perhaps, it reveals a distinct quality of God otherwise unseen.
This glorious conjunction shines all the brighter because it corresponds perfectly with our personal weariness… Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:28-29). The lamb-like gentleness and humility of this Lion woos us in our weariness. And we love him for it. — Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ
We recognize the glory of God’s work and Presence within our lives. Yet, the glory doesn’t end with recognition and wonder. It is “fulfilled” when we respond to this “revelation” of His character with a life that is surrendered and filled with His Presence — this is the essence of true worship.
True worship leads to surrendered and triumphant living.
One more quote that can “set our hearts on fire” with the glory of our God and the life He has given to us:
But this quality of meekness alone would not be glorious. The gentleness and humility of the lamb-like Lion become brilliant alongside the limitless and everlasting authority of the lion-like Lamb. Only this fits our longing for greatness. Yes, we are weak and weary and heavy-laden. But there burns in every heart, at least some of the time, a dream that our lives will count for something great. To this dream, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
The lion-like Lamb calls us to take heart from his absolute authority over all reality. And he reminds us that, in all authority, he will be with us to the end of the age. This is what we long for — a champion, an invincible leader. We mere mortals are not simple either. We are pitiful, yet we have mighty passions. We are weak, yet we dream of doing wonders. We are transient, but eternity is written on our hearts. The glory of Christ shines all the brighter because the conjunction of his diverse excellencies corresponds perfectly to our complexity. — Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ